Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New post from an OLD guy

I know that I'm old and worn out. I also know I was not this way two years ago. Two years ago I was one of these up and running older gentlemen trying just to get things done. I was helping the carpenters get their work don one afternoon when all of a sudden I felt my legs start to give way. I was dragging some old scrap from the back of the house to the side so I could toss it in our roll-off dumpster. I was just pushing the wheelbarrow I just felt my knees give way.

I basically just ignored it. I just kept on working but my knees just kept on hurting. Finally as the carpenters went home, I just set in the rocker on the front porch thinking it would get better. It just must have been to hot outside and I was doing to much.

By the next day it had not gotten any better. Now I began to worry, if only a small bit. I did go by a knee specialist and got a sot, called a 'Roster Comb shot'. It hurt like hell but I was 'told it would help'. I paid my bill and made my way out of the office. As I got to the parking lot, I stepped off the curb and my knee gave way. I fell to the ground. It was hard to get up but I slowly did and got to my car and drove to my personal doctor.

As I told them that I need to see her. they set me up with an appointment two weeks later. Not good. I struggled to get back home and just sat until my wife came home. At that point I told her what had happened.

At this point my life changed for the worst.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Mr.E."

It all started so simple way back in the day - before cellphones, before the internet, before school computers, before al most anything. I never expected it but it happened. It started with a simple game between homerooms. The school thought it would build a 'better school'. I had just started teaching middle school so I was game for almost anything.

Our teachers were told to come up with a homeroom name. We were going to shoot hoops in the gym with our students each assigned morning - WITH our students. Yes WE  had to take part. I had been a basket ball coach for years so that did not scare me but I started practicing at home just to get ready. I did not want to embarrass myself.

My students could not come up with a name that they could agree with so we became known as the 'Mystery team'. As time went on it became the MrE team and that simple meant that I became MrE since my last name began with an E.

Over the year the name spread and the next class continued to use it and so did the next and the next and the next and so forth. 27 years later it was all the kids knew. They were in MrE's class. All because of a simple homeroom basketball stunt.

As teachers we have all been told to stand at our doors as the students file in and to watch the hall traffic. I never had a problem with that. Many a day went by when I was the ONLY teacher students saw in the hall. I loved it and was glad to be there talking to my students, telling them good morning, checking to see how their day had been, how their home life had been the night before, if they had their homework  - if not, why not.

I learned so much in those brief few seconds every class change. I would not change it for the world. I wish I had never retired. My retirement was simply because my wife retired and since she did I figured I had always hear 'retirement is fun. You get to travel, time is of your own making....' NO IT IS NOT. I hate retirement. I hate having nothing to do. Life is SHIT - excuse my French, so to speak.

Within two weeks I was looking for some other place to teach and I found an Episcopal school and needed a prt-time 8th grade history teacher. I interviewed and got the job the same day. It was part-time With a really weird schedule each day but it was a job. Spent two years there loving it. Thanks EDS.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Last Explorer trip of the school year

Well we finally got here. Trip #7. New Orleans, here we come. We left VERY early. I would tell you about our very first time going to NO but that was an overnight trip and all the rest of years from that year on were day trips so I will stick to the one day trip.

We did not do yellow dog because we left the west side of the state going all the way to the east side of the state. We took a charter bus and left very, very, very early - I believe we left school at about 4:30am. We wanted a FULL day in N.O. and this was the only way to get it done.

We pulled up to Café du Monde about 7am. When we got off the bus, we did not get back on it till about 10pm. Our bus driver went to a hotel and slept while we walked everywhere. My Explorers had a very hard time keeping up with me.

After Beignets we walked across the street to Jackson Square and I told stories of what, when, why the statue was about, what happen during civil War to base of statue, why he was on a horse with front legs up (due to the baroness in the center room of the Pontalba Apartments wanted to look into Jackson's face). From there the Explorers were told to work on a drawing, take lots of photographs, then we walked over to St Louis Cathedral.

After walking in, thru the Cathedral, seeing all the flags, tombs, and hearing my stories, we left for the French Market which was their CHEAP spending time and money there. We wandered the entire six blocks and when we got to the end we were across the street from the old U.S. Mint. We visited and walked thru all the exhibits.

We now had a long walk back and this is were they had to keep up with this old man. We walked back along the Moon Walk, along the river, to the old Jax Brewery. From there we were going to dinner on board the Creole Queen with a riverboat trip to Chalmette, the Battle of New Orleans battlefield. We had a great meal, lots of visiting, watching the river roll by.

When we got back it was time to take group photos in and around the Spanish plaza then head off to the Riverwalk Mall, a short distance away. My Explorers had a great time and yes I did turn them loose - with one chaperon - and let them just wander, hang out, go in and out of stores of their choice.

They ate, they shopped, they walked what seemed like miles and miles and miles. As we left at 10pm we walk back to where the bus would pick us up. By 10:30 we were on the bus and headed for home. It has been a great year - and it was great to be an Explorer.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Next to last Explorer's trip #6

We Are headed this trip to one of my favorite places, The Myrtles Plantation. The Myrtles is known as the 13th Most Haunted place in America. 13th. The number is and/or was never factual. But the Myrtles latched on to it and it stuck. You see, 13th is an unlucky number and they wanted it. Any way, this is our first stop this Saturday morning.

April is a great month but my Explorers are looking towards next month I'm sure. Little do they know what's lurking today. The Myrtles tells the tale of secrets, cakes, children, a hangings, shootings, Indian burial grounds, and whisky. Oh, and lots of ghosts. My Explorers got them all.

The stories stared with Whisky Dave, the owner of the house and his running from the pre revolutionary war and his move to Spanish Luisiana. It end with his being shot on his front porch late at  night. the story unfolds thru choice of where he build his house, his slaves, and one up was always sticking her nose - of ear - into his business.

My Explorers listen very intently as the stories went on and on - good and bad, I have read both the actually accounts and heard the ghost stories - believe what you will - they are both interesting.

From the Myrtles we bused on to Greenwood plantation - or the rebuild Greenwood. The story runs in and around Richard Barnes and his family. The stories told of movies, the fire, and his family - AND the stories were told by Richard himself. My Explorers ate it up.

Speaking of eating, we headed back down to Baton Rouge and west to Randols in Lafayette were we had a crawfish dinner, some dancing, and great fellowship before heading home to Calcasieu Parish.

As we got home I began hear - when is the next trip - I knew that answer. New Orleans here we come - and already has been a great year.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Explorers trip #5

We left school early this morning - at 6am heading to our first plantation stop. my Explorers were yawning, running their eyes, but no one was late - they knew the rules. They were ready again to see a part of Louisiana they have never been to.

Our Yellow Dog was making good time down the interstate. Our driver chose to do our trips for free, She knew the students, what they were expected to do, what SHE wanted to see - plus I had told her that it was her bus so if she wanted she could bring someone - she brought her grandson.

We rolled to Baton Rouge, turned south just as we got to the river. My students and their parents knew what to expect - I had given them an itinerary for this trip as with ALL our trips.

Stop one was White Castle - Nottoway Plantation. Our itinerary said we would be there at 9am. As we drove up several of my parent volunteers asked - "you said we would be here at 9am - AND IT'S RIGHT AT 9AM! How did you do this?" (I drive the route a couple of weeks before - I drive the same speed, make the same stops, chart it all - I just know.)

Nottoway is the largest plantation home in the U.S. - 365 windows and doors, a huge white ballroom, a balcony that overlooks the Mississippi River. We explored the home, walked across the street and climbed the levee, took photos, did drawings, asked a ton of questions. And this was only the first stop.

from there we went down River Road to Oak Alley, the Disneyworld of plantations. The OA tour is unlike any tour I've been. They really leave to tour up to you for the most part. After that first year I change out itinerary to a different plantation. The grounds and the plantation are a great stop but you will find out why I call it the Disneyworld tour.

From OA we went to the Cabins Restaurant which this built of former slave cabins. The Explorers loved the stories they were exposed too. This made a great stop before our last stop. After walking around the cabins we were on to Laura Plantation.

My students were excited about the next stop. Laura was famous for what came from there - Compair Lapin which became better known as Br'er Rabbit. They had heard the stories in 3rd or 4th grade - now they knew where the stories came from - right here in their own state. They came from a slave here at Laura plantation.

After touring the plantation, the grounds. the store we were ready to head home and our final stop - supper. Supper would be at Mickey D's in Jennings.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Another Saturday #4

You can suddenly see that I have/or had no life on Saturday. I loved traveling with my Explorers. By this time I NEVER had problems keeping them under control. We always left early with my famous quote "Be on time or we leave without you...catch us at out first stop if you can".

My Explorers knew what to expect, our Explorers shirts tucked in - ALWAYS, polite questions, be ready to take photos, do drawings - no matter how bad you thing they may be, take notes, and turn your essay in on Tuesday morning before school. They always did. Every time we got back parents would complain because they had to hear all the stories. Parents loved it. They also knew if I said we would be back at 10- 10:30 - 11 etc. we were back ON TIME.

This trip was different, not to me, but to my Explorers. We started at Loyd Hall.   It consisted of a tour, drawings, ghost stories, photos, a tour of the bayou in front of the house - AND picking cotton. My students were given a one gallon zip-lock bag to fill with cotton - and walked a LOT. There was over 800 acres to pick from around the house. When they filled their bags they were given another smaller quart bag and told they had to separate the seeds from the cotton. Both bags had to be turned in with their essay on Tuesday. And they were!

Ms. Bullah told us lots of ghost stories. The we had a plantation lunch at Loyd Hall. My Explorers were amazed and very good. It include things they have never had a home, that's for sure.

By early afternoon we left for Eunice and the Acadian Culture Center then to Liberty Center. First at the Culture Center we got to see lots of artifact, many of them they would see later in a film would would watch in class. They sat through cooking demos and got to sample the food. We watched a film on the Acadians which we would cover a bit later in class.

When the center closed we walked around the corner for a BIG SURPRISE -  we 'watched' the recording of a Cajun radio production and listened to a Cajun band - but the fun part was they got to Cajun dance down on the main floor with lots of other folks.

Finally, about 9 we got back on the bus and headed home.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Explorers Saturday trip #3

We can tell just from the past two post that I loved what I was doing. Plus I'm so sad that I was forced to quit due to my medical forced retirement.

Our third trip was planned to coordinate with the re-enactors being at Fort St Jean Baptiste du Natchitoches. It was before the holiday and just before we started studying the Era. By this time my students knew what to expect, what they were going to see, due, experience.

Again we left early on a Saturday for the long bus ride through the hills of northern Louisiana. We pulled into Natchitoches about 9am and watched a short DVD of Fort St. Jean Baptiste then we looked around at the displays and artifacts. Afterwards we walk over to the fort - a recreation of the original from 1714.

We got to watch the re-enactors fire the cannon, their muskets, then we walked inside the fort. Strangely, when we got inside the 'current date' melted away. The re-enactors played their parts perfectly. That did not change until we walked outside of the Fort.

We tried to break their stories but never did. They "told" us about their families back home in France, how they became French Marines, If they were married, how long they have been 'in country', etc, etc, etc. We watched cooking demos, craving demos, looked through the very limited general store and learned a few new games. After a few hours we moved on to our next stop.

We headed to the oldest cemetery in Louisiana, the American Cemetery. We saw graves from the early 1700s. My students did rubbings of tombstones, took photos of some early tombstones. After about an hour we were on to our next stop. We did rubbings of street markers on the Walk of Fame.

That then took us to lunch time at Lasyones on secont street. We sat upstairs in the banquet room. We had a great time telling stories, jokes, etc.

From there were did a scavenger hunt along front Street where we divided into groups of four plus an adult to search for hidden items up and down the four-five block sidewalk of Front Street. Afterwards we gathered on Cane River Lake to watch the fireworks. We sat around for hours just waiting on the beginning. Students got to wander around the festival down along the Cane River area. They enjoyed themselves.

Then the fireworks started and WOW - they were fantastic. An hour+ fireworks kept them mesmerized,

From there we walked back to the bus, about three blocks away and began the long trip home.

Next trip will be the Chenneyville/Eunice trip.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Explorers day trip # 2

So you have seen that I am very passionate about teaching because I love taking students around the state month to month. I have ask other teachers to come along and other history teachers have begged to travel with me but have NEVER made their first trip. I have asked but they are afraid of giving up THEIR weekend. They don't like the students as much as I do.

For my second trip I decided that we would travel on a school day which severely cuts our day. We had to leave after school started and be back before the bus had to run her afternoon route.

On this trip, we went to Lafayette to visit the Acadian Village. I love this place, even better then the much better known Vermilionville. As we got to AV, I passed out the script to the opening scene of Belizaire which was shot here in the church. I wanted the students to understand what they would see later in the year. As we walked around I made my students take photos of various places because I knew they would recognize them later.

The whole trip was a real teachable moment. We also walked around to the Indian site way off the normal path to see the artifacts and stories of Louisiana's Native Americans we were about to get into in a couple of weeks.

We ended up with a picnic lunch then a photo shoot of things they wanted for later. They also did a sketch of the church for their scrapbook. We left for home about 12:45pm.

Essays were due on Tuesday, no fail. Short, sweet, and to the point.

Our next trip is to my most favorite place in Louisiana - Natchitoches.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My time as a Louisiana Explorer leader

I am very passionate about teaching (most of my former colleagues know that already!) There is nothing I like better than collaborating with others who share my Louisiana passion. My principal always knew that and always supported me in my passion.

I loved taking MY students on state wide field trips. We generally left about 6:30am and got home about 10-11pm. It generally cost $25 or less every trip. And I scheduled them once a month. My students knew how to act, how to handle themselves, plus they knew MY rules - one mess up and you were out. There where others just waiting to get into our Louisiana Explorers. We did not go to the mall, we did not o to the park, we did not have 'fun'. Except EVERY STUDENT knew what being selected for the Explorers meant.

I guess you what to know what I did and how I did it. Lets start back at the VERY  beginning. Our first trip was going to be on a 'yellow dog' - a school bus. I made plans to travel to our state capital. Cost became an object but I knew that most of the places I wanted my students to see were FREE so that help the cost a lot.

That first trip saw us tour our tall state capital - 34 floors. I had been there many times and herd all the stories. But that first trip was special. It was scheduled around the first weekend of September - the day that our former governor was shot in the back hallway. This now turned into a history lesson that they were not expecting to get.

We walked around the hallway, house and senate chambers until we got to the back hallway. At that point I began my story of the shooting of Huey Long. I told my students who was there, where his office was, Who shot him, and why.

Suddenly my students were taking lots of photos, asking hundreds of questions, wanted to know more. Suddenly I had my 25 students 'eating out of my hand' so to speak. And as the story went on, he was not even the governor at that time - he was a U.S. Senator which made the case even bigger. The story just went on and on. The doctor who treated him got his job because of a payoff to Huey. He did the work because Huey's personal doctors could not get therein time from New Orleans. Read more.

From there I took them up to the observation deck on the 27 floor. From there we looked out over the Mississippi River, and the tomb were Huey was buried, plus we walked around to look out at the current governor's mansion, and to capital lake.

From there we came back down, walked the steps, counted them, answer with there were on 48 steps since EVERY state was listed. They also looked at elevator doors and all the governors are embossed on them in order EXCEPT for Huey. Why is that?

We were done about 10am so now what? One we walked over to the pentagon barracks - the form L.S.U. campus and former government offices. From there we walked over to the river-walk area. While there we had a picnic lunch over looking the river.

By noon we were back on the road to the old state capital which is where they tried to impeach Huey while he was governor. It is now a museum and a BEAUTIFUL place. We watched a movie there, walked around, shopped at the gift shop, then went outside to do the next project. The students tend had to draw the building. They did some wonderful artwork and never complained.

From there we bused up the street to the old governor's mansion. The stories just kept on coming about Huey, what he did and how he got this house built. My students were just loving this trip. Did I have any problems. No, not a one, more on that later.

After the tour of this great house, some more drawings, lots of photos, and lots of questions, we loaded the bus for our next visit. My first 'expense'. The L.S.U. Rural Life Museum. Here it got tricky but not for me. As I 'let my students wander freely', the museum staff were terrified. It did not take long before they realized these kids were not your NORMAL middle school kids. My students suddenly stated asking how, why, where, when,what....it went on and on. The staff was overwhelmed.

The staff had to run us out so they could close up. My students has some great stories, photos, drawings, rubbings. And this was a time before iPhones. As we re-boarded the bus about 5:30pm they knew it was time for supper but we still had at least an hour or two to go.

As my students told stories, visited, and chatted we were on our way ro our last stop - Landry's. A great seafood place near Henderson. I had planned all this out. We were seated in the back dinning room so that my students could visit, talk, and make noise, but not disturb the other guests. We got there about 7pm and left about 8:30. From there we were heading home - finally. Excited, and tired but happy.

But this is just ONE trip out of seven during the year. If you mess up and cause trouble you are not going on the next or any other trips. You see WHY I never really had problems. They WANTED to go on that last trip to New Orleans. More about that one later.

Each year I started out with 25 and only ONCE had a problem on that first trip. I planned this trip because there was nothing you could break, no problem you can get into (or so I thought), and no problem I could get into with my administration.

Generally there was me, the bus driver, and one or two parents. They loved the trips also. My one problem was a young man who did not follow directions and I made him sit by me from the new state capital to home because of his behavior. He was not happy.

As we got home the students were informed if they wanted to go the next trip I need an essay on my desk before school on Tuesday. Of course the essay was SHORT telling we what they liked about this trip, what their favorite part, what they would change, etc, etc, etc. I NEVER had to ask twice, the essays where on my desk almost before I got to school on Tuesday.

The young man....He never made another trip with me. Sure, his mother begged, complained to my principal but he never traveled with me again - my rules are MY RULES.

More on the next trip next....

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cutting grass is so peaceful.....

It was so calm, quiet, and nice this morning. I got to cut grass AND  someone cut the very back 5% of the grass I did not do on Monday due to the fact that was still wet out there. I left it and planned to come back today to cut it and behold....someone had already cut it - my 90+ year old neighbor, his eldest son, our uncle who lives cattycorner behind us....I have no idea. But someone did. Thank You - but I WAS going to cut it.

Any way I went ahead and cut the rest even though it did not need it - yet. It wont need to be cut till maybe next Friday/Saturday.

My wife is gone again teaching her last day of orchestra camp. Then she has an SAI fraternity meeting/supper/whatever tonight so I won't see her till late again tonight.

I have been mulling over the help wanted pages in the newspaper, contacting a company that sends out mailings, and just looking for some type of job that I can do and that will keep me busy. I hate to say it but the one thing I'm noting looking for is income. Sure, a little will be nice but I would rather something that would keep me busy.

As a former teacher, something would better than nothing. But then, right now I have to find just the right job. Something that will get me out of the house. A job that does not require a lot of walking.

SATURDAY------

We are keeping my grand-daughter today while her momma works. I don't know for how long.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

What a day

What a day. Even my wife did not tell me Happy Birthday. She came in tired from orchestra camp, did not even suggest we go out to eat, did not ask me about supper till about 8:30, stayed up till after I went to bed.....

Oh well I guess I getting old and birthdays really mean nothing anymore. My daughter did call late last night and did wish me a Happy Birthday. At least that was something. My son posted a note on FB but that was it. It was the middle of the week, so maybe that counts or doesn't count.

No one on here commented either. I'm just a lonely boy.

I think I'm going to the country today and finish cutting grass and just clear my head. There's nothing better to do around here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A great day but an alone day again.

This morning when I got up and opened my laptop Google came up with an interesting image.....
Very neat I thought. Somebody shares my birthday. Wow, wonder who it is? I moved my mouse over the image....
...what?????? Me??? Then I remembered that months ago I opened a Google+ account then decided I did not like it and just closed it and forgot about it. Suddenly this image shows up today.
 
But being somewhat curious, I clicked on the image and I get....
that same image file I had begun but never finished, And there are people who have joined. There is nothing there but a VERY unfinished site. But look, over 400,00 views. From who, where......?

All I ever really did was give Google my name, being a male, AND my birthday. I guess I will be in their file FOREVER.

A least SOMEONE noticed. Or at least A COUPUTER noticed.

Anyway, I am alone again all day today as my wife is off teaching again at orchestra camp. She was 'dog tired' last night went she got home after camp, then face painting at CiCi's pizza till very late. The kids at CiCi's ran her ragged all evening. Luckily I brought our grand daughter home with me and she fell asleep watching her cartoons about 8:30.
 
She slept all evening til grandmaw got home about 10 then grandmaw took her to bed where she slept til about 7:30 AM. She got to play a while then her mom came picked her up for the rest of the day.
 
My wife left shortly afterwards and will be one til about 4;30-5 this afternoon. From there who knows what will happen.

 
 
 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

What do you do?

 
What do you do when you are left alone all day again?Well, for one I just get over it and go about my way doing what I have always done. I have emptied the trash, washed the clothes, washed the towels, going to Wal-Mart basically to just walk around and get some exercise, piddled here on the web, reworking my webpage, paying a few bills, and just trying to stay busy - at least as much as I can being "handicapped"  as I feel.

I know I not really handicapped so to speak but in one case I am. I have what's known as a 'drop foot' and it means I have to wear a boot/splint on my left foot. Oh I still get around, just a little slower than I used to. I have been told to use a cane but mostly around the house and outside I don't. Now when I go to Wal-Mart I take it with me but 99.9% of the time I use the basket to hold on to and walk 'normal'.

Most of my day consist of sitting on the front porch, rocking and just thinking. Boring, I know. But what else is there to do. I generally don't go anywhere any more because of my handicap. I don't do any visiting - except with my sister. I don't go around the state anymore since it reminds me to what I used to teach and love. It only makes me MORE depressed.

I try  not to snack much anymore due to the fact that I really can't exercise much. I used to walk every day around the neighborhood plus I was always doing things for school and at school. Now. all I do is sit and do 'near the house stuff'. Boring !!!!

I generally don't watch much TV but it's because it's summer and most of it is reruns. I did watch a little college softball and baseball. I was just following LSU but now the ladies are out and I not a BIG fan of baseball even though LSU is still in it. I am keeping up with my Astros as they are making a season to remember.

I guess I'll just quit here for a while and go to Wal-Mart then come back and see what I can get into. The yard here has dried out so maybe I can just go cut grass.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Had a good day - sort of.....

Today was interesting to say the least. I got to go out to the country and cut grass. Doesn't that sound fun? It was for me. Time doing what I like. Very quiet, no breeze, no music, no nothing but me, the zero-turn mower, and the grass. Funny, but to me that was relaxing. All I had to do was check in a couple of times so that my wife knew I was okay.

See, years ago her grandfather died out there and no one knew for a long while because he never checked in with home. My wife tells me I HVA to text in at least when I get there, around noon or lunchtime, and when I am leaving. I understand. No problem.

It's four acres, lots of trees, the old house, and the old barn to work around but I like going out there. It takes about $15 of gas and a lunch but I just buy both just before I get to the old house.

The place is haunted. I know that sounds strange. But I have heard voices and seen images while I was working out there painting and putting the old place back the way it was around the mid-50s. I've my wife's grandfather calling me, I heard our neighbor calling me and he is not around anywhere. I've seen the grandfather but no one 'hurts you', I just think he's glad I'm taking the house back to what I used to look like.

I have photos from 1935 and while working I have come across one of the old doors walled up and covered years ago, so I put it back.

To me, as a history buff, I love restoring the old house and learning the stories. The bathroom used to be an outhouse but as the great-grandmother good sick it was move indoors for her convenience. The room use to be my father-in-laws room. He picked out the pain color. I found a piece of the wall so we repainted the room what we now call 'Aldon Blue'.

There are lots of stories about this old place. We have had quiet a few get-togethers out there, we spend the night a few times. There is no TV, so it becomes a place to just talk, visit, and hang out. We have shot fireworks out there, had crawfish boils, had cook outs, let grandkids have church/scout hangouts out there.